Aircraft Prebuy Questions
Votes
Open
A question/call we get fairly often is a member calling who is looking to buy an aircraft and is need of a mechanic to do a prebuy. While AOPA can't recommend a mechanic or a service for this we can hopefully get you pointed in the right direction.

I'm aware of two companies that offer this service (if anyone knows of any other please reply below) Can't recommend either, but maybe someone else who has used them can add some color to the conversation below.

There are other options to the advertised services as well:
  • Owners groups for the particular aircraft you're looking at buying
    • Owners groups (Cessna Pilots Association, American Bonanza Society, Piper Owner Society, etc) are a wealth of information. Reaching out to these groups will help you immensely with information and they may be able to recommend a mechanic in your area that has expertise with your model.
  • Contact the local FBO on the field at the aircraft's home base (or another airport close by).
  • Contact a flying club nearby the aircraft's home base.
    • A local flying club may be able to recommend a mechanic nearby that can do a prebuy
    • You can find local flying club by utilizing AOPA's Flying Club Finder.
Another question we get is what should a prebuy include? It can be anything under the sun, but AOPA has published a Purchase Inspection Checklist that will give you the basics. AOPA also has a printable Aircraft Condition Checklist that you may find helpful as well.

You've got to remember that with a majority of the older fleet that the engine is worth more than the airframe, so you may want to have the mechanic start there. Because if the engine is no good it may not be worth continuing.

AOPA has published many articles/videos on this topic, here's some links to some:
This is just some of the more common questions/answers we have on this topic and resources that we share with members. Please feel free to expand on this topic below and share your knowledge on this topic.
2 Replies
Votes
Let me provide some feedback about Savvy Aviation and their prebuy services.  I will start with a disclaimer that I am a Savvy Client and as an aircraft buyer's agent, I have used Savvy and recommended them to my clients.  I find their process to be regimented enough that it keeps the mechanic and the owner "honest".  It also tends to add some sanity to the process so that buyers don't consider every issue as an airworthiness item.

Savvy can recommend a competent mechanic and some mechanics are part of Savvy's team.  For the most part, THEY (Savvy) do not perform the prebuy.  The service Savvy provides really manages both the prebuy inspection AND the process so that buyers can make informed decisions before the bill gets too expensive.  I've found them to be an independent 3rd party that can provide feedback on the mechanic's findings before moving forward with any repairs or the deal itself. 

As the buyer, YOU have control over what you want a given mechanic to do - or not do.  The prebuy is not a defined inspection so you have the option to go as deep as you wish but the deeper you go, the more money is typically involved.  Part of this also gets into the Purchase Agreement and what both parties have agreed to.  Who is going to pay for what, etc.

Good luck.
Votes
1037 Posts
The Grumman Owners and Pilots Association (the nearly 50-year international Grumman type club formerly known as the American Yankee Association) offers a number of Grumman-specific aids to prospective Grumman AA/AG-1/5 and GA-7 owners, including a list of member-recommended Grumman-savvy mechanics and shops, and two pre-purchase inspection checklists.  A free 90-day trial membership allows access to those normally members-only areas.  GOPA also has a list of Grumman-knowledgeable instructors who can conduct GOPA's Pilot Familiarization Program for those new to the type.  See the GOPA website for more.